February 24, 2024

In the seven weeks since Hamas invaded Israel and massacred over 1,200 people, growing international attention has been directed toward the terrorist organization’s primary backers and paymasters, chief among them Iran and Qatar. The two autocratic regimes, which have provided Hamas with various forms of support over the course of many years, both bear responsibility for the savagery that was inflicted by their Gaza-based client. Largely overlooked, however, has been the role of yet another nefarious dictatorship, one that also deserves to be held to account for the part that it played in the largest mass murder of Jews since the Holocaust. While its capital city of Pyongyang may be 8,000 kilometers away, the North Korean regime’s bloody fingerprints are in fact all over the October 7 Hamas atrocities. And Kim Jong Un’s evil Stalinist state must not go unpunished for the chaos that it helped to unleash. Although North Korea’s state-run news agency has vehemently denied any involvement, the facts on the ground indicate otherwise.
How did North Korea help Hamas carry out the October 7 massacre against Israel? To begin with, Hamas used weapons that were made in the Hermit Kingdom. On October 19, the Associated Press (AP) reported, based on information provided by South Korean officials, two experts on North Korean arms, as well as the AP’s own analysis of weapons captured by Israel on the battlefield, that Hamas was using Pyongyang’s F-7 rocket-propelled grenade, or RPGs. “North Korea has long supported Palestinian militant [terrorist] groups, and North Korean arms have previously been documented amongst interdicted supplies,” arms expert N.R. Jenzen-Jones told AP. He further added, based on video imagery of the October 7 assault, that the terrorist group was employing North Korea’s Type 58 self-loading rifle, a variant of the Kalashnikov assault rifle. In other words, it is highly likely that at least some of the Israelis who were murdered by Hamas died at the hands of weapons provided by North Korea. Indeed, on October 26, Agence France-Presse quoted an Israeli military official as saying that 10% of the weapons used by Hamas in the attacks had originated in North Korea. South Korean military and intelligence sources concur. On October 17, a senior official from South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff was quoted by UPI as saying, “Hamas is believed to be directly or indirectly linked to North Korea in various areas, such as the weapons trade, tactical guidance, and training.” “The official also noted,” the report said, “that North Korean-made 122-mm. multiple rocket launchers were provided to an armed group related to Hamas, and artillery shells marked ‘Bang-122’ – the same as ammunition used by North Korea – were found on the Israel-Gaza border.” In addition to providing Hamas with the means to murder, Pyongyang may also have assisted with the know-how. Back in December 2016, Kim Jong Un publicly presided over a military training exercise of North Korean paragliders simulating an assault on the South Korean presidential residence in Seoul. And that tactic is precisely what Hamas utilized as part of its coordinated attack on Israel on October 7. “There is a possibility that this know-how was passed on to Hamas,” the South Korean official told UPI. His remarks were later confirmed by the South Korean Defense Ministry. THE RELATIONSHIP between Hamas and North Korea is actually not new and stretches back for years. Nearly a decade ago, on July 26, 2014, the UK Daily Telegraph reported that Hamas had made a down payment to Pyongyang to acquire missiles and communications equipment as part of a larger arms deal. The paper noted that “Hamas has forged close links with North Korea, which is keen to support groups that are opposed to Western interests in the region.” It also cited unnamed Israeli military commanders as saying that North Korean experts had been advising Hamas on how to build its network of underground terror tunnels based on those that Pyongyang constructed decades ago beneath the demilitarized zone with South Korea. Prior to that, in 2009, a shipment from North Korea of 35 tons of military materiel, which included rockets, was seized in Thailand. It was later revealed that it had been intended for delivery to Iran, which was planning to smuggle the weapons to Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. And last month, in an article on the 38 North website, a publication of the Stimson Center, Dr. Samuel Ramani highlighted the history of “North Korea’s covert alliance with Iran-aligned militias in the Middle East.” These ties stretch back to the 1970s when Pyongyang provided weapons to Yasser Arafat and training to other Palestinian terrorist groups. By any measure, North Korea has shown itself to be nothing less than an enemy of Israel. It has close ties with Iran and Syria, has backed Hamas and Hezbollah, and provided arms and know-how to those who seek to destroy the Jewish state. Kim Jong Un may be pudgy and puerile, but he is perilous too. It is therefore essential that Israel take a more forceful public stand against North Korea and continue to strengthen relations with South Korea, which can serve as an important partner in trying to contain Pyongyang’s Middle Eastern mischief. And we must raise greater awareness about North Korea’s support for groups such as Hamas, which underlines how Kim’s regime is a force for instability not only in the Far East but around the globe. Simply put, North Korea has Jewish blood on its hands. It cannot be allowed to act with impunity. 
The writer served as deputy communications director under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his first term of office.